Pakistan on Friday rejected Indian reports that the Financial Action Task Force’s Asia Pacific Group placed Islamabad on an “enhanced blacklist” for non-compliance and non-enforcement of safeguards against terror financing and money laundering, Dawn reported.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance called the reports “incorrect and baseless”.
The intergovernmental body sets standards for fighting illicit finance globally. In June, the global watchdog warned Pakistan to complete an action plan on terror financing and urged Islamabad to meet the October 2019 deadline. In June 2018,Pakistan was put on its “grey list” and given a 27-point action plan to implement in order to be taken off the list.
The Asia-Pacific Group concluded its meetings in Canberra, Australia, on Friday. The discussions lasted over seven hours for two days, PTI reported. According to Indian media reports, Pakistan failed in 32 of 40 “compliance” parameters for its legal and financial systems, and failed 10 of 11 “effectiveness” parameters for enforcing safeguards against terror-financing and money-laundering by United Nations-sanctioned entities and other non-government outfits.
However, a statement issued by APG on Friday did not mention Pakistan being put on an “enhanced blacklist”.
The APG blacklisting status would impair Pakistan’s chances at extricating itself from the FATF greylist.
Last week, Islamabad in its efforts to convince the 41-member plenary to upgrade it status, had submitted a 450-page compliance document with details of all the changes the government has made to existing laws, and action taken against terror groups in the past year and a half. It mentioned that Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed was charged with terror financing, and that it had frozen all assets of the JuD and other UNSC banned outfits this year.
The compliance document will be reviewed against the 27-point action plan set out by the task force. It could later decide on one of the three options: to remove Pakistan from the greylist, to continue to keep it on the greylist, or to downgrade it further to its blacklist.
The review meetings will be held in Bangkok on September 5, and a final decision will be given at the Paris plenary session to be held between October 18 and October 23.
India, which is member of both the Financial Action Task Force and Asia Pacific Group consultations, has repeatedly asked Pakistan to take necessary steps to meet international standards in stopping financial crimes.
Being on a blacklist of the financial watchdog has the potential to severely cripple and isolate a country financially, which could lead to a downgraded credit rating and denial of loans and developmental assistance.
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